Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Environmental Technology and its Role in the Search for Urban Environmental Sustainability: The Dynamics of Adaptation
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to analyze the role that environmental technology plays in the solution of environmental problems in cities, and discuss models and conditions that can facilitate the processes of selection, implementation and use of environmental technologies in and by cities.

The technological component is perhaps one of the most important characteristics of modern cities. The dependence of humans on technology is in most cases a given, something that is not ignored in the sustainability debate. The development and implementation of new, “better” technologies is however hindered by the inertia that modern societies have and the influence of the dominant systems (e.g. economic systems based on growth, extraction of natural resources and environmental disturbance). So-called environmental technologies are not always able to efficiently compete against other technologies that are embedded in societies by lock-in mechanisms, e.g. learning by doing and using, scale economies, subsidies, and network externalities.

Even with the “right” technologies, an exclusively techno-centered approach to sustainability can result in other problems, and it might reduce the sustainability debate and the cities’ role in it to discussions of an administrative nature. The actual role of local actors and their agency must be also considered in the models and frameworks directed at understanding sustainability transition processes. It is thus important to analyze the dynamics of technology selection, implementation, use and diffusion in cities from a stakeholders’ perspective as well.

Not only is the availability of technology of interest for understanding the impact it has on the environment, but also the intensity of its use. This has resulted in increased attention from politicians and scholars on the so-called global cities (e.g. London, New York, Tokyo), which are characterized by their intense use of e.g. transport, security and surveillance, and information and communication. Paradigmatic models of sustainability can however be contested when the role of local actors, power and agency are considered in detail and not isolated from the context. Some authors recognize the need to address what they call “ordinary cities”, since focusing on the cities’ comparative level of development (be it political, economic or technological) hinders the possibility of bidirectional learning. In the end, sustainability is a “collective good,” which means that it is in everyone’s interest to coordinate efforts and learn from the best practices, regardless of where they come from.

This thesis focuses on “ordinary cities,” and promises to offer conclusions that can contribute to a better understanding of how societies can learn from each other and how environmental technologies can have deeper and better results when implemented in different contexts than the ones where they were developed. Two questions related to the process of environmental-technology adaptation are addressed in this thesis: How do technology adaptation processes for the solution of urban environmental problems take place in cities? And how do cities benefit from environmental technologies?

It is found that environmental technology is not only seen as a solution to environmental problems in cities, but every day more as a component of strategies to attract attention and compete for resources in national and international markets. Cities have different adaptation and learning strategies. This means that technological solutions have to be flexible and adaptive to local conditions, and allow for vernacular knowledge and past experiences to enrich their performance by facilitating their connection to existing systems. Learning between cities is important and necessary for global sustainability transitions. When it comes to environmental technology, this process is facilitated by strong proof-of-concept projects. Such projects are not only expected to be able to show their technical ability to solve a problem, but must also offer contextual connections to the problems faced by interested cities or potential implementers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. , 75 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1659
Keyword [en]
Technology Adaptation; Governance Mechanisms; Spread of Technology; Stakeholder Involvement; Proof-of-concept; Environmental Technology Suppliers; Urban Imaginaries
National Category
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117947DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-117947ISBN: 978-91-7519-075-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-117947DiVA: diva2:812392
Public defence
2015-06-15, ACAS, A-Huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-05-18 Created: 2015-05-18 Last updated: 2015-05-19Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Governmental export promotion initiatives: awareness, participation, and perceived effectiveness among Swedish environmental technology firms
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Governmental export promotion initiatives: awareness, participation, and perceived effectiveness among Swedish environmental technology firms
2015 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 98, 222-228 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Some countries rely heavily on exports as an essential component of their economic competitiveness. With the current trends in economic globalization, promoting exports has become a common strategy to boost economic growth. Exports of environmental technologies represent a new window of opportunity for economic growth and a contribution to global sustainability. With this in mind, national governments have designed initiatives that aim to promote exports within this sector. To address their objectives, governments provide initiatives to promote foreign commerce with their environmental technology sector. This article assesses the awareness, participation, and perceived effectiveness of such governmental initiatives to promote exports among Swedish environmental technology firms. An Internet survey was sent to 693 Swedish environmental technology companies, previously identified and classified, with a 25% response rate. The responses show a relatively high export orientation although a majority of the respondents claimed they were unaware of governmental initiatives that fit their particular export needs. The companies that did find appropriate governmental initiatives showed a high level of participation in such initiatives, but only a few of these participants could relate their participation to actual exports. The findings suggest there is a need to design support instruments based on the particular characteristics of the environmental technology sector rather than to offer generic solutions for such export promotion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015
Keyword
Environmental technology, Technology diffusion, Market failures, Perceived effectiveness, Firm-level analysis
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102196 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.11.013 (DOI)000356194300023 ()
Projects
Megatech
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2013-12-03 Created: 2013-12-03 Last updated: 2017-12-06
2. Lessons from the spread of Bus Rapid Transit in Latin America
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lessons from the spread of Bus Rapid Transit in Latin America
2013 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 50, 82-90 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Technological transitions and governance theories are employed for the analysis of the dissemination behavior of Bus Rapid Transit systems in Latin America. This process presents interesting characteristics and traits that seem to facilitate the overcoming of barriers and act as catalysts for the adoption of innovation. The present study uses a systems perspective to explore the dynamics of Bus Rapid Transit's adoption by different cities in the region and to follow its geographical dissemination, relying on historical data collected on numerous implemented projects.

The resulting analysis provides an insight on the determinants and key points for the concept's expansion, which may be useful for the study of the dissemination of environmental technologies in cities. Contextualized, solid demonstration projects and incremental innovations, it is here argued, facilitated the adoption of new ways and promoted the dissemination of this urban mobility solution within a homogenous group of cities. A description of the Bus Rapid Transit system's approach to barriers that are also found to hinder the dissemination of environmental technologies provides a learning basis for future dissemination strategies.

Keyword
Transitions; Innovative urban solutions; Technology spreading; Urban transformation; BRT Systems
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85513 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2012.11.028 (DOI)000320490600008 ()
Funder
Vinnova
Available from: 2012-11-23 Created: 2012-11-21 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
3. Protecting socio-technical regimes for advancing urban sustainability transitions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Protecting socio-technical regimes for advancing urban sustainability transitions
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article highlights the importance of central actors that coordinate activities at the meso level and protect the stability of socio-technical regimes in search of collective goals for sustainability. An analysis of how technology, in the form of large technical systems, has helped the city of Medellín (Colombia) to achieve substantial improvements in its social, economic and environmental conditions is presented, with a particular emphasis on its municipal utility company. The article describes and discusses how the city has managed to protect stability, maintain the direction traced in the past, and rely on the use of technology to promote further advancement in other aspects of city life. The definition of collective goals from an early stage in the city and the emergence of mechanisms that would ensure good coverage, the further development of its utilities, and access to resources for the improvement of its social and environmental conditions, have guaranteed regime stability. In turn, such stability has made it possible for the city to promote the emergence of urban innovations and face economic, social and environmental challenges. We claim that the notion of external pressure on the sociotechnical regimes as an unmissable opportunity to exert change contradicts the public nature of sustainability goals and obviates the role of actors that struggle to protect the socio-technical regimes from external disruptions.

Keyword
Socio-Technical Configurations; Urban Governance; Environmental Technology, Windows of Opportunity; Intermediaries
National Category
Environmental Engineering Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117943 (URN)
Available from: 2015-05-18 Created: 2015-05-18 Last updated: 2015-05-18Bibliographically approved
4. A city’s utility company as an axis for its sustainable development: A case study of EPM of Medellín, Colombia
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A city’s utility company as an axis for its sustainable development: A case study of EPM of Medellín, Colombia
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article discusses the central role that a utility company can play in the sustainable development of a city by studying the case of EPM of Medellín, Colombia. After presenting a brief history of the development of public services in Colombia, the article discusses the company’s management model, the local laws and regulations affecting it, the direct and indirect benefits for the city and the risks that come along with the power it has acquired. It is claimed that early decisions to maintain public ownership of key assets and provide the company with administrative autonomy have allowed it to remain competitive, despite the liberalization of the utilities market in the 1990s. This in turn has allowed the city to dramatically increase its municipal revenue and thus its spending on social projects. This case promises to contribute to the discussion on entrepreneurial cities looking to increase their citizens’ well-being through municipally-owned corporations that are commercial and social at the same time. It also contributes to the debate about operational efficiency between the private and the public sectors, and the central role that utility providers play in the construction of more sustainable cities. Ultimately, this case study can contribute with good practices from countries of which Academia knows so little.

Keyword
Sustainable Urban Development; Key Assets; Administrative Autonomy; Popular Control; Entrepreneurial City; Public Ownership, Operational Efficiency
National Category
Environmental Engineering Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117944 (URN)
Available from: 2015-05-18 Created: 2015-05-18 Last updated: 2015-05-18Bibliographically approved
5. Exporting the Swedish Model for Sustainable Urban Development: What has Changed?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exporting the Swedish Model for Sustainable Urban Development: What has Changed?
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this article, some of the obstacles for translating urban imaginaries and urban sustainability concepts based on technological interventions are analyzed. This analysis is built on experiences from the World Urban Forum 7 in Medellín, Colombia held in April 2014, and uses previous attempts to explore the production of imaginaries at play in the performance of SymbioCity, an urban development concept with a symbiosis tint created by the Swedish Trade Council. Through documenting the role of physical and non-physical messages from the Swedish delegation and its exhibition, along with numerous interviews with key actors at the conference and from the city’s administration, an analysis of the current strategies used to promote the tool is provided. The claim that induced idealized urban futures sap energy and result in poor achievement of the goals is used to suggest that context and current conditions influence the ability to understand and adopt technological solutions. The conclusions are centered on the fact that SymbioCity, for the most part, is trying to sell products or services that are difficult to see and understand from the perspective of citiescustomers. It is argued that there are contextual and historical conditions that are crucial for the decision to implement them that are, at least implicitly, expressed by the targeted cities-customers, and that the SymbioCity concept, or at least the way it is communicated in these fora, has undergone a change, in the sens  that it has become more flexible and allowed for bottom-up considerations to enter the discourse.

National Category
Environmental Engineering Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117945 (URN)
Available from: 2015-05-18 Created: 2015-05-18 Last updated: 2015-05-18Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(1068 kB)308 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 1068 kBChecksum SHA-512
06b5638260444328f0e50103fdadfb27a17485711045dd68b1383400b6886937ac009d8142f2b658d3c9edd13a812df6ae385380b8d064fca6126befe24fc7d8
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf
omslag(364 kB)16 downloads
File information
File name COVER01.pdfFile size 364 kBChecksum SHA-512
c729e2af8754f4b53f89ad7d2c63b62e5ea91d3b66786e64bc9a7a2e85d61bb4d0ca584bb7831e7a38ede50f018675af2455272c8f6611c9df949e7100209a80
Type coverMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Mejía-Dugand, Santiago
By organisation
Environmental Technology and ManagementThe Institute of Technology
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-useEnvironmental Engineering

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 308 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

doi
isbn
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

doi
isbn
urn-nbn
Total: 1063 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf